Home » Natural Refrigerants FAQs—Here’s What You Need to Know

Natural Refrigerants FAQs—Here’s What You Need to Know

By Published On: March 21, 2022

The use of natural refrigeration systems is getting ever more popular in the food retail industry. Due to different environmental regulations aiming to cut harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and the growing cost of HFC refrigerants, adopting sustainable solutions is the best way forward.

However, natural refrigerants’ popularity doesn’t come without apprehensions and worries among retailers. This blog aims to clarify those concerns.  Here, we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the use of natural refrigeration systems, hoping to give you additional insight as to the many benefits of going “natural.”

Are natural refrigerants safe for the environment and are they safe to use?

Natural refrigerants widely used in the food retail industry, such as CO2, propane, and ammonia, are widely understood to have zero to minimal GWP (Global Warming Potential) and ODP (Ozone Depletion Potential), so they are environmentally friendly with little or no contribution to the toxic greenhouse gas issues in the atmosphere. With respect to safety, natural refrigerants are bonded with regulations on how to effectively and safely apply them in food retail establishments together with the help of skilled technicians and workers to install and maintain the systems.

How much is the cost of ownership and operation of natural refrigeration systems?

Natural refrigeration systems are inherently investments. Their total cost of ownership (TCO) is significantly lower than traditional systems in the long run since natural refrigerants are abundant in nature and much less expensive to produce. Using natural refrigerants, like CO2, would allow retailers to use smaller pipes, compressors and overall reduced equipment footprint. Some R-290 display cases, for example, are literally plug-and-play, saving retailers a lot of money on installation.

What choices do I have in terms of refrigeration solutions that use natural refrigerants?

Natural refrigeration solutions range from commercial to industrial applications and are not as limited as you might think. There is a wide array of sustainable solutions available, like distributed systems, self-contained display cases, and transcritical booster systems that can be used for food merchandising, food processing, and cold storage.

Will natural refrigeration solutions help me comply with existing and upcoming refrigerant regulations?

Definitely! Existing and upcoming refrigerant regulations from different environmental agencies aim to curb climate change by putting limits on and regulating the use of certain refrigerants in the food retail industry. This means that sooner or later, some refrigerants, such as synthetics, will be fully phased out in favor of more environmentally friendly alternatives, adding emphasis and urgency to retailers to make the change to natural refrigeration systems. By using sustainable refrigerants today, you are getting a head start and eliminating the worries of transitioning to “natural refrigerants” to comply with future regulations.

Why should I choose natural refrigeration systems?

It’s a future-focused solution for regulatory compliance. Additionally, it’s good for the environment and good for your business’ operation and the bottom line. Investing in natural refrigeration systems positions you like a more sustainable, energy-efficient, and compliant business, ready to take on what’s ahead. Truly, a smart choice!

So, what’s holding you back? Natural refrigerants have been around for a long time (British mariners used CO2 as a refrigerant as far back as 1850 to keep their perishable goods from spoiling), especially in Europe where propane has been successfully adopted for over 20 years. In the US, its usage is now driven by changing refrigerant regulations. Clearly, natural refrigerants are here to stay, and it is time to act.